Three Japanese Anarchists
By Victor Garcia, Kate Sharpley Library. Distributed by South Chicago Anarchist Black Cross PO Box 721 Homewood, IL 60430.
This was my second time around reading this ‘zine. It had been years and was well worth the refresher. The author, Victor Garcia, was a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, who continued the struggle even sneaking back into Spain in 1946 to support the Libertarian Youth, but was arrested and imprisoned before fleeing the country again.
Starting with Denjiro Kotoku who had been a very active Marxist and comrade of Sen Katayama who, along with Asian Indian M.N. Roy had traveled through Latin America as communist organizers. This ‘zine is full of fascinating connections like this! Kotoku was considered such a threat by the state they not only imprisoned him but killed him in 1911 along with 11 of his comrades for allegedly planning a revolt.
But as frequently happens after such waves of oppression, one of Kotoku’s students, Sakai Osugi, picked up his gauntlet in the form of two of his mentor’s publications, Kindai Shoso (Modern Thinking) and Heimin Shimbun (Common Man’s Daily). Also like Kotoku, Osugi was a skilled linguist who went about making some major translations such as The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin. Though also similarly to Kotoku, the state considered him such a threat it killed him, albeit extra-judiciously. This was also part of a wave of oppression. A number of other libertarians and Koreans were also put to death.
There is a series of brief biographies and descriptions of groups before the section about the third primary subject of the ‘zine, Taiji Yamaga, who unlike the other two main focuses of this ‘zine, lived to an advanced age, 78. But aside from their shared politics, he also shared their foreign language skills which combined with his lengthy life led him to correspond with many people over seas, both in and out of Anarchist movements, including Vinoba Bhave, a prominent student of Gandhi’s. (A. Iwasa)
It’s Going Down!
Anarchist News & Practice Across So-Called North America itsgoingdown.org
Recently a print edition of what is mostly a best of style round up of the website itsgoingdown.org came in to the Long Haul Infoshop. This ‘zine is solid cover to cover, and reminiscent of how some of the better indymedia.org affiliates used to print around 2002 in New York and Washington, DC. (A. Iwasa)
Jacobin, Winter 2016
Issue 20: Up From Liberalism jacobinmag.com 388 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11217
Well written and sharply laid out cover to cover; Jacobin is a periodical from the Socialist camp(s) that is rare to me in that every article was solidly worth reading.
Rooted in history and heavy on analysis, this issue of Jacobin didn’t offer very much of an alternative to capitalism in general or social democracy and the Democratic Party in particular that it pretty thoroughly took apart.
It reminds me of the old Socialist Alternative newspaper, Justice, around 2001 or so, only apparently, completely a media project. It also strikes me as politically similar to the International Socialist Organization around 2004 in the sense that I wonder if they are Social Democrats or Trotskyists? Neither? Both? Without a doubt it is worth study and discussion, though I do wish they would be a little more up front about exactly where they are coming from. If I’m not mistaken, pg. 99 holds the only explicit declaration of their Bolshevism, but even that is lacking. What exactly is “the thorough Bolshevization of American culture”? Like Socialism in general, the term means so many different things, it’s almost meaningless without a definition. (A. Iwasa)
Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, Prisoners’ Speak! Journal #1
Memphis Black Autonomy Federation PO Box 16382 Memphis, TN 38186-0382 Prisoners write: South Chicago ABC ‘Zine Distro PO Box 721 Homewood, IL 60430
Diverse writings by both prisoners and supporters. Race, class, gender and sexuality are all taken into account connecting prisoners’ struggles with those of working people on the outside. Well written, thought provoking and decked out with beautiful art. (A. Iwasa)
I know this ‘zine is a bit old, but it’s exciting because it’s about how Artnoose was introduced to Letters of Insurgents by Fredy Perlman. Not only did she read it, but went along to set up an Insurgent Summer reading group and helped make up an audio book of it posted on the Audio Anarchy website!
The novel consists of letters between two comrades who participated in an anti-bureaucratic uprising in Eastern Europe during state communism, after one came to live in exile in the U$, and the other went to prison.
Letters of Insurgents is the only audio book I’ve ever listened to. It will make you want to projectile vomit your guts out to your dearest comrade in a seven page letter. If you’re lucky, your comrade will reply with more than a passing reference to “your beautiful letter” in an e-mail about something else… (A. Iwasa)
Letters of Insurgents by Fredy Perlman (available from:) Left Bank Books 92 Pike St. Seattle, WA 98101-2025
SCIENCE as RADICALISM
by William Gillis available online humaniterations.net/2015/08/18/science-as-radicalism/ in ebook format and as a zine.
‘Everything in the universe is in the public domain’ – William Gillis is a second-generation anarchist who’s worked as an activist in countless projects and capacities since getting involved in the lead-up to N30 (the “Battle in Seattle”). He studies high energy physics and has held a deep fascination with the egalitarian potential of markets since 2003. His writing can be found primarily at ‘Human Iterations’. “It’s no secret that a good portion of the left today consider science profoundly uncool… Indeed there’s a lingering whiff of technocratic stodginess and death that the word ‘science’ has never quite shaken. Those leftists most associated with it have a tendency to either be authoritarians looking to legitimize near-fascist narratives, or doe-eyed activists enchanted by saccharine visions of self-managed bureaucracies and The Meeting That Never Ends.” A Key concept throughout the zine is an appeal to deep critical thinking, to question the comfort of our belief systems. Key question: why the fuck is the ‘left’ so opposed to science? Be prepared to use a dictionary if you’re like me, with a basic school education! Here is the beginning of William Gillis’ conclusion: “It goes without saying that we shouldn’t waste our lives fighting a war over every preferred definition. Language is often fluid, and not every term can be redeemed. A ‘language’ is often really forked into many simultaneous languages and there can be strategic and empathic virtues in swapping between them. But it’s also important to have our terms describe the most meaningful realities or distinct dynamics they can. Gaping conceptual holes, unspoken or unspeakable realities in a given language, can end up having a huge impact in our lives and impeding our capacity to fight. Language determines what we focus on by default, what gets left as awkward addendums, and thus what loops of debate we most frequently retread trying to get at realities outside the terms we have available.” This zine was to me a real hit and shake in the fluid matter of my upper compartment nut, but no headache! (elke)
Consequence (actually it is a book . . .)
By Steve Masover (344 pgs)
Published by Salted Rose Press
A story about Bay Area anti-GMO direct action activists, Consequence is a little slow to start. But the story wraps you up in the personal lives of the characters and turns into an intense page turner before you know it. The characters are very believable and being a Bay Area activist myself, I kept finding myself wondering, “maybe that character is based on so and so…” Consequence is a great read. It brought tears to my eyes a couple of times and has a real twist at the end of the adventure. Highly recommend it!! (Kelly)